Brief Bio of J.J. (Jay) Carney:

I am Associate Professor of Theology at Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska, USA, where I have taught since 2011. My scholarship lies at the intersection of history and theology with a particular focus on Catholicism in East Africa. I am especially interested in questions concerning modern church history, political theology, the theology of reconciliation, public religious leadership, church and state, and sport and theology. I hold a B.A. (History and Political Science) from the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville), a Masters of Divinity from Duke University Divinity School, and a PhD in Church History from The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC. My wife Becky and I have 4 children: R.J. (14), Annabelle (13), Samuel (11), and Adelaide Rose (7).

Current Research Projects:

I will soon release two new books.

  • The first examines the theological visions and public impact of seven different Catholic leaders in Uganda in postcolonial Uganda: For God and my Country: Catholic Leadership in Modern Uganda (Wipf and Stock/Cascade's Studies in World Catholicism Series). Drawing on years of oral research, it advances scholarship on Uganda's largest church, yet is also pitched at classroom audiences in social ethics, theology, church history, leadership studies, and African studies.

  • Co-authored with Jonathon L. Earle (Centre College), the second book is a contextual intellectual biography of Uganda's leading Catholic politician at the time of independence: Contesting Catholics: Benedicto Kiwanuka and the Birth of Postcolonial Uganda (James Currey Press). The book profoundly reframes standard accounts of Uganda's political and religious history by bringing oft-overlooked Catholic activists back to the center.

As a longer term project, I am also collaborating with Matt Hoven (University of Alberta) and Max Engel (Creighton University) on a new book tentatively entitled: On the Eighth Day: A Catholic Theology of Sport. Our goal is to produce an erudite yet accessible systematic theology of sport from a Catholic perspective that could be used in classrooms and parishes alike.

Published Books:

The Surprise of Reconciliation in the Catholic Tradition (Co-Edited with Laurie Johnston; Paulist Press, 2018). The result of a three-year collaboration with 15 scholars, this volume's innovation lies with its broad historical range and scope, namely by exploring global case studies in reconciliation and peacebuilding from the 1st century to today. Topics include St. Paul's understanding of social reconciliation, Muslim-Christian co-existence in medieval Spain, peacemaking sermons in 15th-century Italy, forgiveness in Eastern Africa, and restorative justice in U.S. prisons. In particular, authors explore how Christian practices such as monastic silence, sacramental anointing, and restitution can serve constructive roles in broader communal processes of social reconciliation.

Rwanda Before the Genocide: Catholic Politics and Ethnic Discourse in the Late Colonial Era (Oxford University Press, 2014). A detailed examination of the Catholic Church's controversial history in Rwanda, this book focuses on the period between 1952 and 1962 when Hutu-Tutsi tensions escalated into political violence. This was named the best book in East African studies in 2015 by the African Studies Association.

Published Articles:

**For article downloads, check out the following link.

"Benedicto Kiwanuka and Catholic Democracy in Uganda," Journal of Religious History 44.2 (2020): 212-229.

"How Uganda's award-winning Catholic radio station is changing the lives of its listeners," America Magazine (2019).

"Modern Roman Catholic Mission and the Legacy of Uganda's Emmanuel Cardinal Nsubuga," International Bulletin of Missionary Research (2018)

"Go Set Africa on Fire? Lessons in Evangelization and Globalization from Early Jesuit Missions in Ethiopia" Journal of Religion and Society (2018)

"The Politics of Ecumenism in Uganda, 1962-1986," Church History (2017)

"Uganda's Good Shepherd: The Public Witness of Emmanuel Cardinal Nsubuga, 1966-1986," The Waliggo: A Philosophical and Theological Journal (2017)

"Christendom in Crisis: The Catholic Church and Postcolonial Politics in Central Africa," Routledge Companion to African Christianity (2016)

"From Categorization to Communion Ethnic Identity and Catholic Reconciliation in Post-Genocide Rwanda," Journal of Religion and Society (2016)

"A Generation of Genocide: Catholic Reconciliation in Rwanda," Theological Studies (2015)

"The Bishop is Governor Here": Bishop Nicholas Djomo and Catholic Leadership in Democratic Republic of Congo," in Leadership in Postcolonial Africa: Trends since Independence (2015)

"The People Bonded Together by Love: Eucharistic Ecclesiology and Small Christian Communities in Africa," Modern Theology (2014)

"The Danger of Description: The Ethnic Labeling of the Poor in Colonial Rwanda," Journal of Religion and Society (2013)

"Beyond Tribalism: The Hutu-Tutsi Question and Catholic Rhetoric in Colonial Rwanda," Journal of Religion in Africa (2012)

"Far from having unity, we are trending towards total disunity: The Catholic Major Seminary in Rwanda: 1950-62," Studies in World Christianity (2012)

"Roads to Reconciliation: An Emerging Paradigm of African Theology," Modern Theology (2010)

"Reconsidering Ecclesia in Africa in the Shadow of the Rwandan Genocide," African Ecclesial Review (2008)